Friday, June 20, 2008


900 W. 10th St.
Austin, Tx
(512) 476-TACO

I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but I haven't always been the gallivanting single woman I first appear to be. Before there was Bachelor #s 1, 2, or 30 there was my ex. We met on E-Harmony of all places. We were both single and hating life in DFW. He was tall, smart and goofy. On the first date I knew we'd date seriously, by the third date he had met my parents, and after a month we had moved in together. But alas the "honeymoon" did not last. I moved to Austin to be closer to my family and he moved to Phoenix to be closer to his. We tried maintaining our long distance relationship for a while, despite the 2,000 mile separation, we managed to see each other twice a month. During the course of our relationship, I managed to make a dozen or so trips out to Phoenix. I went there enough to realize that 1) it is waaaay to fricken hot there and 2) no-one does anything fun there.

One other thing I discovered about Phoenix is that their Mexican food isn't Tex-Mex, or Monterrey, or even Baja style Mexican food, it's Sonoran style. Apparently in Sonoran style Mexican food they don't cover their food in salsas and greasy Tex-Mex style sauces. They focus on fresh ingredients available in the Yuma breadbasket to create simple Mexican yumminess. There was this little Mexican taquerilla in Tempe that we would frequent that had the best taquitos. Quality marinated pulled chicken wrapped in fresh corn tortillas, deep fried to a light golden color, then covered in the freshest, greenest guacamole you've ever seen. We'd order a huge place of those tasty taquitos and chow down.

I've tried a couple of the taquerias around Texas hoping to find taquitos of the same quality, but so far I've been disappointed. Tex-mex taquitos tend to be filled with stringy uninspiring chicken, wrapped in spongy tortillas, and deep fried until they're overcooked. The whole package tends to be rather unappealing.

Bachelor #4 and I were trolling around downtown one night and decided we wanted cheap Mexican food. We thought we'd try a little joint off Lamar that Laura had mentioned had good breakfast tacos. I thought why not. Chuco's is in a converted house that I believe used to be a really nice neo-european gourmet restaurant a few years ago. Its in the high rent district around Lamar and 6th which is why its surprising a low price taqueria has managed to survive where so many expensive restaurants have failed. The parking lot is tiny, but there were surprisingly few cars in the lot behind the restaurant. There were a surprisingly large number of people inside the restaurant indicating most of the folks who frequent this place are locals that walk or bike.

The counter to order is right by the front door and the volume of people coming and going make for a rather convoluted order process and an inevitable traffic jam. You order at the counter, get a number, then find a seat. The place is cute and has a clean feel; an old house with hardwood floors and white trim. After we ordered and sat down we waited what seemed like forever, but was probably close to 20 minutes. I was starting to get really antsy for my food. Who waits that long at a taqueria? Seriously!

Our order trickled out slowly starting with the house special, beef chucos. I ordered them as they're served, smothered in cheese and covered in some sort of watery tomato sauce. I wasn't all that impressed with the cheese and sauce, but the taquitos were top quality. They were the lightly golden fried delicious Sonoran style taquitos I'd get in Phoenix. The sauce, while it was tasty, was really watery and dripped everywhere making for a really messy eating experience. I'd avoid it next time. After we'd each had a few chucos our tacos came out. I ordered a chicken adobado which was spicy but rather uninspired. Bachelor #4's carne asada taco was really great though. Simple, but flavorful, the chicken had a nice texture and the taste of quality meat. They don't use Grade D chicken parts here.

After sucking down our chucos (sounds kind of dirty doesn't it), Bachelor #4 and I headed down the street to pick up a thank you present for my co-workers. I'd had a big deadline at work and wanted a special way to thank my co-workers who had helped, and what better way to say thank you that a big sugary, buttery Cinnabon. I haven't found a better purveyor of fat cinnamon roles here so if anyone can recommend one I'd appreciate it.

Bottom Line: Cute, convenient, quality Mexican taqueria, avoid the sauces

Mariah - 8